William Hill Grand Slam Semi-Finals
TAYLOR DEFIES BRILLIANT LEWIS TO REACH WILLIAM HILL GRAND SLAM FINAL AGAINST THORNTON
PHIL TAYLOR won one of darts' finest ever matches to reach the William Hill Grand Slam of Darts final with a 16-9 defeat of Adrian Lewis, while Robert Thornton joined him in the decider by seeing off Scott Waites by the same scoreline in Wolverhampton.
Taylor and Lewis hit a PDC record 32 maximums during a spellbinding semi-final at the Wolves Civic, with the latter posting 18 and averaging 110.99 in a stunning display, only to fall to defeat to his Stoke rival.
Taylor set the tone for the game with a 180 in his first visit to the oche, and added another in taking the opening leg and a third in the next leg as he posted back-to-back 12-darters to lead 2-0.
Lewis responded with three in as many legs as he moved 3-2 up, and though Taylor regained the edge with finishes of 14, 14 and 13 darts, Lewis replied with legs of 12 and 11 darts to level at five-all.
Taylor took out 167 to lead 6-5, only for Lewis to win three of the next four to lead 8-7 - only for the World Champion to find another gear to clinically take the next eight legs, finishing 160 and an 11-dart leg, as well as hitting six perfect darts of a possible nine-darter in moving 15-8 up.
Lewis responded with a 13-darter, but even an 18th maximum was not enough as Taylor hit tops for a 14-dart finish which secured his place in the final following a classic contest.
"That was a great game and I'm absolutely delighted to have won it," said Taylor, who averaged 109.76. "We both got really wrapped up in the game and you lose track of what scores have been hit, but I loved it.
"I knew Adrian would come back at me and it was a matter of hanging in there, but he kept his level up all the way through the match and I just had to take my chances on the finishes."
Taylor will now return to play in his fifth Grand Slam of Darts final on Sunday evening, as he takes on Thornton to compete for the £100,000 first prize.
"It's going to be another tough match against Robert because he's having a great week and he fully deserves to be in the final," said Taylor. "I'll get myself ready for another battle."
Lewis' defeat saw him fall at the semi-final stage for a second time in three years to Taylor in Wolverhampton, and he admitted afterwards: "I don't feel as though I've lost - but if you average 111 there's probably only Phil Taylor who can beat you.
"I'm still in shock but Phil was fantastic. He's the best living sportsman in my eyes and it was a pleasure to be on stage with him today.
"That's the best match I've ever been involved in and Phil said the same to me at the end. I missed a couple of doubles but they couldn't have been any closer and Phil did what he does best, he punished me."
Thornton, meanwhile, overcame 2010 Grand Slam of Darts champion Waites 16-9 with another outstanding display, averaging 101.03 as he won through to the fourth major final of his career.
The Scot landed three 180s as he established an early 5-1 advantage, and he also landed an 11-dart finish as he moved 8-3 up.
Waites' though, missed double 12 for a nine-dart finish in the 12th leg, before winning the next three legs in 13, 11 and 14 darts as he cut the gap to 8-7.
Thornton then hit two 180s of his own as he regained some breathing space at 9-7, and he won the next two for a four-leg advantage before Waites hit back on double three.
A 111 checkout sparked a run of four straight legs from Thornton as he moved 15-8 up, and though Waites briefly kept his hopes alive on double 16, the Scot took out double ten in the next to complete a memorable win.
"I'm very happy to be in the final and I really enjoyed the game," said Thornton. "It was a hard game and Scott kept coming back at me and pulled some brilliant legs out.
"I came out very aggressively, my scoring was good and my finishes were going in, and I think I took him aback a bit, but half-way through the match he started kicking in and played some unbelievable darts.
"I gave myself a kick up the backside when he got back to 8-7, and thankfully I managed to get the job done.
"I'm really enjoying myself and we'll see what happens in the final now. I'll take it one leg at a time and I'll give it my all."
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William Hill Grand Slam of Darts
Sunday November 17
Robert Thornton 16-9 Scott Waites - Robert Thornton Video
Phil Taylor 16-9 Adrian Lewis - Adrian Lewis Video
Best of 31 legs
Phil Taylor v Robert Thornton
Best of 31 legs
Robert Thornton v Scott Waites
1-0 - Waites misses two darts to take the opening leg, and Thornton takes out 82 on tops to break throw immediately.
1-1 - Waites replies by posting double 16 to break back.
2-1 - Thornton posts the game's first 180, and takes out double four to break throw again.
3-1 - Waites hits a 180 to leave 22, with Thornton missing two darts at tops and one at double ten, only to see the Lakeside Champion miss three darts at double 11 to allow the Scot in to pin double ten and move two legs clear.
4-1 - Thornton opens with another maximum, and finishes double ten to open up a three-leg cushion.
5-1 - Thornton hits a third maximum of the game as he wins a fourth successive leg.
5-2 - The Scot opens with another 180, but misses the bull to finish 130 as Waites lands double 16 to win his first leg in five
6-2 - Waites misses double 11 to take out 142, and Thornton returns to land double ten.
6-3 - Thornton leaves himself tops, but Waites finishes double eight to hit back.
7-3 - Thornton lands tops to regain his four-leg lead.
8-3 - Thornton hits tops for an 11-darter as he moves five legs clear.
8-4 - Waites replies brilliantly, hitting two 180s to set up a possible nine-darter - missing double 12 for the 141 combination before eventually winning the leg on double eight.
8-5 - Double 18 sees Waites respond again.
8-6 - Waites hits another maximum in an 11-darter, this time hitting double 12 to finish an 81 checkout.
8-7 - Waites lands his fifth 180 of the game, and when Thornton misses double five for a 130 finish, the Yorkshireman hits double six for a 14-darter to take a fourth straight leg.
9-7 - Thornton this time tees up a possible nine-darter, hitting two 180s but missing a seventh treble 20, although he posts double ten to take the leg and halt Waites' charge.
10-7 - Waites hits a sixth 180 of the game, but misses two darts at double 16 to allow Thornton in to finish 78 in two darts on double 12.
11-7 - The pair trade 180s as Thornton hits tops to win a third successive leg.
11-8 - Waites initially misses three darts at double 12 and six, but returns to pin double three.
12-8 - Thornton wins a big leg, taking out 111 on tops to move four legs away from the final.
13-8 - Thornton hits a 180, and when Waites misses his chance to reply, the Scot lands tops to move five legs clear again.
14-8 - Thornton takes out 81 on double six again to move two legs away from the final.
15-8 - Thornton hits a 177 score, and returns from missing double top and ten for a 100 finish to land double five to break and move a leg away from triumph.
15-9 - The Scot misses a match dart at tops to finish 110 for victory, and Waites lands double 16 to keep his hopes of a second Wolves Civic win alive.
16-9 - Thornton is first to a finish, initially missing double top and ten before returning to land double ten to win through to the final.
Click here for Robert Thornton Video Interview
|Robert Thornton||16-9||Scott Waites|
|8||Breaks of Throw||4|
|16/36 - 44%||Checkout %||9/33 - 27%|
Phil Taylor v Adrian Lewis
1-0 -Taylor opens the game with a 180, and hits another maximum before finishing double two for a 12-darter.
2-0 - Taylor adds another maximum, with Lewis replying in kind only to see his opponent take out 84 on the bull for another 12-darter.
2-1 - Lewis lands a 180 as he gets off the mark.
2-2 - Taylor hits a 177 and Lewis adds a third maximum of the game, and when the World Champion misses double 15 for a 110 finish, Lewis takes out double ten to level.
2-3 - Lewis hits another 180 as he wins a third successive leg, taking his average up to 109.
3-3 - Lewis misses double five for an 87 finish, with Taylor stepping in to finish 48 to level.
4-3 - Lewis hits a 180 but misses his chance on tops as Taylor breaks throw with an 84 finish.
5-3 - Taylor opens with a 180 and lands double nine to win a third successive leg.
5-4 - Taylor's fifth 180 of the game is followed by a sixth from Lewis, as he finishes 87 on double 18 for a 12-darter to hit back.
5-5 - An amazing leg sees three 180s throw in successive visits, with two from Lewis and one from Taylor, who then misses the bull for a 126 finish as the youngster takes out double 26 for an 11-darter.
6-5 - Lewis hits his ninth maximum of the game, but is left waiting on 52 as Taylor takes out a stunning 167 finish.
6-6 - The pair trade 180s once again, with Taylor missing double 12 for an 87 finish to allow Lewis in to complete a 12-darter on tops.
6-7 - Taylor hits his eighth 180s, but Lewis scores 170 to leave 32 before hitting double 16 to move ahead.
7-7 - Another leg sees three successive 180s hit, with two this time coming from Taylor, who misses double 12 and six for an 81 finish only for Lewis to miss two darts at double eight for a 76 checkout, allowing the World Champion back on double three for a 13-darter.
7-8 - Taylor's 11th 180 is followed by Lewis 12th, as the two-time World Champion returns from missing double five for a 130 finish to hit the bed at the second time of asking.
Averages after 15 legs - Taylor 112.19, Lewis 114.92
8-8 - Lewis lands his 13th maximum of the game, but double 16 sees Taylor level.
9-8 - Taylor finishes 88 on the bull to break and regain the lead.
10-8 - Taylor misses tops for a 110 finish, but Lewis misses two darts at the same bed to allow him back to land double five, with his third dart, to move two legs clear.
11-8 - Taylor lands a 12th 180 of the game, and when Lewis misses tops for a 160 finish, Taylor takes out the combination for a stunning checkout to take a three-leg lead.
12-8 - Taylor hits two 180s to set up a possible nine-darter, with Lewis hitting one in reply - and though a perfect leg for Taylor goes begging, he lands double eight to win a fifth successive leg.
13-8 - Taylor finishes 96 on double 18 to move three legs away from the final.
14-8 - Lewis opens with a 180, but Taylor hits a 177 and finishes double 16 for an 11-darter as he takes a seventh successive leg.
15-8 - Taylor's surge continues as he defies a 16th maximum from Lewis by hitting double four to move to the brink of victory.
15-9 - Lewis hits the game's 31st 180, and posts tops to keep his hopes alive.
16-9 - Lewis posts his 18th 180, but Taylor takes out tops for a 14-darter and a place in the final following a classic contest.
Click here for Adrian Lewis Video Interview
|Phil Taylor||16-9||Adrian Lewis|
|8||Breaks of Throw||4|
|16/29 - 55%||Checkout %||9/24 - 38%|